Tag Archives: DroidStar

Ohio Section Journal – The Technical Coordinator – July 2022 edition

One of the responsibilities of the Technical Coordinator in the Ohio Section is to submit something for the Section Journal. The Section Journal covers Amateur Radio related things happening in and around the ARRL Ohio Section. It is published by the Section Manager Tom – WB8LCD and articles are submitted by cabinet members.

Once my article is published in the Journal, I will also make it available on my site with a link to the published edition.

You can receive the Journal and other Ohio Section news by joining the mailing list Tom has setup. You do not need to be a member of the ARRL, Ohio Section, or even a ham to join the mailing list. Please sign up!

If you are an ARRL member and reside in the Ohio Section, update your mailing preferences to receive Ohio Section news in your inbox. Those residing outside the section will need to use the mailing list link above.
Updating your ARRL profile will deliver news from the section where you reside (if the leadership chooses to use this method).
Go to www.arrl.org and logon.
Click Edit your Profile.
You will be taken to the Edit Your Profile page. On the first tab Edit Info, verify your Email address is correct.
Click the Edit Email Subscriptions tab.
Check the News and information from your Division Director and Section Manager box.
Click Save.

Now without further ado…


Read the full edition at:

THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
Jeff Kopcak – TC
k8jtk@arrl.net

Hey gang,

Seven operators activated Special Event Station W8B on July 16, 2022. Operating team consisted of: Technical Specialist Bob – K8MD – Bird employee and mastermind in planning the event, K8FH – Fred, K8TV – Ken, KC8NZJ – Mat, NF8O – Dave, KE8BKI – Stephanie, and K8JTK. This Special Event commemorated 80 years of Bird Electronic Corporation and 70 years of the Model 43 Wattmeter.

In 1940, J. Raymond Bird developed a way to quickly and accurately measure forward and reflected power in coax transmission lines. In April 1942, Bird Engineering Company was founded in Cleveland, Ohio. According to an old sign on their website, the original location was on E. 38th street. Later, the company renamed to Bird Electronics Corporation. After securing important contracts in the late 1950’s, they located to their current facility in Solon, Ohio. Bird was instrumental in the Mercury and Apollo space programs during the 1960’s, supplying radio-tracking equipment and loads for equipment testing. Today, Bird manufactures and packages test equipment, signal boosters, analyzers, and recording equipment.

70 years of the Bird 43 Wattmeter (Bird)

In 1953, the Bird 43 RF Wattmeter was introduced and quickly became the industry-standard tool for RF power measurement. A staple in many ham shacks, the Bird 43 is popular in commercial and broadcast industries as well. During the 1970’s, Bird provided critical and affordable test equipment to ham radio operators during emergencies which helped Bird become a household name. The 43 is popular because it can measure a wide range of frequencies, 450 kHz to 2.7 GHz between 100 mW to 10 kW, using plug-in elements. These elements are commonly referred to as “slugs.” The meter is an insertion-type, meaning placed in-line of the transmission line, measuring forward and reflected power.

Started out as a dreary, rainy morning. When I left my QTH, the sun was starting to make an appearance. Rain held off for us to operate 7 hours before another round was on its way. Three portable stations were operational. Two HF by K8MD and K8FH, and one VHF/UHF by K8TV. The HF antennas were portable turnstile dipoles with a fabricated or Spiderbeam center mast. These are quickly deployable and go up in about 20 minutes. The VHF/UHF was a commercial antenna on a fabricated mast that rose just above one of the unloading docks.

K8FH on CW and K8TV on VHF/UHF

Plan was to be on the air by 1000 local. Setup went quick and W8B was operational around 0900 testing the equipment with a few initial contacts. We operated from the outdoor employee patio of Bird. Operators were treated to a tour of the factory by K8MD. It was nothing short of impressive. In order to test manufactured products, there are high power broadcast transmitters for dummy load testing and plenty of test equipment that any ham would love to have in their shack. Most products, including the 43, are made, tested, and shipped from the Solon, Ohio location.

K8MD, Katie Wright, Dana Svilar, Terry Grant, and NF8O

After the tour, we met executives Katie Wright – Director of Strategic Development, Dana Svilar – Manager of Marketing Communications, and CEO Terry Grant. They were interested to see the setup and how the event was progressing. We explained and demonstrated the digital station. Sideband contacts were made and they heard from hams that own a Bird 43.

The bands weren’t the best to start out. On 40m, we’re logging contacts. Then, like a light-switch, there was nothing, including on FT8. Katie was trying to coordinate a contact with N1KSC, Kennedy Space Center Amateur Radio Club, with some close friends of hers. For a good while, they were hearing us 59 but we did not copy them at all. Right about noon, K8MD finally established contact. There was still plenty of QSB but he got them in the log. Katie even got on the radio to say a few words during the exchange!

K8TV operated the VHF/UHF station. He was making contacts on repeaters in Lorain (close to 40 miles at our 1100 ft elevation) and surrounding counties, including making simplex contacts. K8FH operated the CW station. NF8O made quite a number of sideband contacts in the afternoon despite the up-and-down band conditions. K8MD, KC8NZJ, and myself operated FT8 throughout the day.

Bird graciously bought us lunch from a local pizzeria and we received swag for coming out and playing radio. We operated until 1600, a little past that on the digital station, and started to strike the equipment. We were on the road home around 1700.

164 contacts were made: CW: 5, SSB: 37, FM: 26, FT8: 96. Thanks to K8MD who planned the event. Bird Electronic Corporation for allowing us to operate from their facility and their hospitality. If you made contact with W8B, you will receive a QSL card, designed by Dana, as a thank you.

Striking the last antenna for W8B: KC8NZJ, K8TV, KE8BKI, K8FH, and NF8O

One of the many things on my ham radio “do-more-with” list is AREDN mesh. I have a MikroTik RouterBOARD hAP ac lite node I setup some time ago. I haven’t done much with it due to not having any real way to get a high-profile node and no other nodes are around me. It’s been running in the shack with a tunnel to W8ERW & Sandusky ARES. I haven’t advanced much on “now what?” after the initial exercise of flashing a node with AREDN’s firmware.

If you have an AREDN node and haven’t updated in the last few months, start planning an upgrade. AREDN implemented many projects which have made considerable improvements to the firmware. The original Broadband-Hamnet was written in Perl and AREDN continued to build on and maintain Perl code. A conversion from Perl to the Lua programming language has been completed. This conversion recovered a lot of memory by removing large Perl libraries. Nodes will now run code optimized for embedded devices. Memory saved by the conversion means the tunnel package and iperf3 (speed testing) are now bundled with the base firmware. Previously, both had to be installed manually after each upgrade.

Upgrades and selecting the correct firmware should be much easier too. Nightly builds are available for testing new features or tweaks in the firmware. Though, “nightlies” as they are called, are pre-alpha releases. According to the project, theirs are pretty stable. This doesn’t mean they should be installed on production nodes in hard-to-reach places in case something goes sideways.

Link Quality Management has been added to help optimize networks and drop links that cause network problems. Nodes with poor SNR, too far away, or prone to many retransmissions can be dropped automatically. These cause poor performance for nodes without those issues. An example: a high-profile node has to account for all connected nodes. If a node 40 miles away from its location its connected, it must wait for acknowledgments from all connected nodes. Should that node 40 miles away not be able to receive messages or messages can’t be delivered back to the high-profile node, this degrades speed and performance significantly. The high-profile node must wait for responses and possibly keep retransmitting the same message to that node until a response is received. LQM will drop nodes that do not meet quality criteria. This feature is turned off by default, unless it was configured previously.

These updates, network design basics, and demo of the next generation user interface are covered in a recent LAXNORTHEAST meeting. That meeting is available on YouTube featuring AREDN representative Orv – W6BI. He deployed the mesh backbone in Ventura and western Los Angeles Counties. His presentation isn’t introductory but is beneficial for those who have setup and maintain a node.

A radio that covers ALL ham radio voice digital modes? Reality or vaporware? Projects, like the DV4 Mobile, have been vaporware. Taking a swing at the market this time is the Connect Systems CS800D PLUS. It claims: to store 520,000 contacts and 64,000 channels, have the ability to do DMR, FUSION, DSTAR, P25 and NXDN, make its own code plug on the fly, and many more features yet to come. Consider me intrigued. OK, it doesn’t do most of this out-of-the-box. Essentially the CS800D PLUS is the CS800D today, a DMR and analog dual-band mobile radio. Features will be added ‘without the manufacture’s cooperation’ and ‘firmware will be done by the Amateur community.’ Not really sure how that is going to work since the existing firmware isn’t open sourced, documented, or have documented hooks/APIs. Additionally, the “all digital modes” comes via a “co-processor or your laptop to allow you to add digital modes not currently in the radio.”

I have the CS800D but purchased one of these anyway to see if this actually comes to fruition, especially the ‘all the digital modes’ part. If not, it or my 800D will appear on the used market! I envision this radio will utilize a NW Digital Radio DV3000 or DVMEGA DVstick on a Raspberry Pi or computer using a serial connection between the radio and computing device. This would provide off-radio encoding/decoding of digital modulation and analog frames. No working proof of concepts or documented working setups have been posted as of this writing. Posted documents mostly show how to convert codeplugs between the CS800D and CS800D PLUS. Firmware for the CS800D PLUS is not backwards comparable with a CS800D, according to Connect Systems. The CPS will work with both radios but the firmware is not compatible due to CPU and memory differences.

openSPOT 4 (openSpot)

Flying under my radar was the release of the SharkRF openSPOT 4. After reading up, it’s another incremental release. What’s new in the 4? Improved battery life (up to 30 hours), multi-core CPU, new WiFi module, and split into two offerings: openSPOT 4 and openSPOT 4 Pro. That’s it, near as I can tell. It’s probably due to chip shortages, but the openSPOT 4 is available now where as the openSPOT 4 Pro is due to ship again August 20th.

What’s the difference between the 4 and 4 Pro? Hardware cross mode capability and price. The openSPOT 4 rings in a € 249.00 ($254.14 USD) and the 4 PRO at € 319.00 ($325.59 USD, both conversions as of this writing). First introduced in the openSPOT 3, SharkRF hotspots are the only ones with the ability to cross mode D-STAR with DMR, C4FM, and NXDN networks. The 4 does not have the capability to cross mode D-STAR with other networks, the 4 Pro does have this capability. As with other openSPOT releases, the release of the OS4 end-of-life’s the previous model. The openSPOT 3 will probably get some firmware updates here-and-there but don’t expect many more based on past experience. I liked the openSPOT 3 for what it was. The 4’s are another pass for me because this release that doesn’t offer much more features than my openSPOT 3.

Nearly as soon as the OSJ went to publish last month, the wording about DroidStar no longer being available for iOS was removed. It appears the issues of concern were resolved. DroidStar is back in TestFlight and I heard from iOS users that it was working for them again.

Thanks for reading and 73… de Jeff – K8JTK

Ohio Section Journal – The Technical Coordinator – June 2022 edition

One of the responsibilities of the Technical Coordinator in the Ohio Section is to submit something for the Section Journal. The Section Journal covers Amateur Radio related things happening in and around the ARRL Ohio Section. It is published by the Section Manager Tom – WB8LCD and articles are submitted by cabinet members.

Once my article is published in the Journal, I will also make it available on my site with a link to the published edition.

You can receive the Journal and other Ohio Section news by joining the mailing list Tom has setup. You do not need to be a member of the ARRL, Ohio Section, or even a ham to join the mailing list. Please sign up!

If you are an ARRL member and reside in the Ohio Section, update your mailing preferences to receive Ohio Section news in your inbox. Those residing outside the section will need to use the mailing list link above.
Updating your ARRL profile will deliver news from the section where you reside (if the leadership chooses to use this method).
Go to www.arrl.org and logon.
Click Edit your Profile.
You will be taken to the Edit Your Profile page. On the first tab Edit Info, verify your Email address is correct.
Click the Edit Email Subscriptions tab.
Check the News and information from your Division Director and Section Manager box.
Click Save.

Now without further ado…


Read the full edition at:

THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
Jeff Kopcak – TC
k8jtk@arrl.net

Hey gang,

As Technical Coordinator for the Ohio Section, I oversee the section’s group of Technical Specialists. The Specialists and I are here to promote technical advances and the experimentation side of the hobby. We encourage amateurs in the section to share their technical achievements with others in QST, at club meetings, in club newsletters, at hamfests, and conventions. We’re available to assist program committees in finding or providing suitable programs for local club meetings, ARRL hamfests, and conventions within the section. When called upon, serve as advisors for RFI issues and work with ARRL officials and other appointees for technical advice.

Technical Specialists are a cadre of qualified and competent individuals here for the “advancement of the radio art,” a profound obligation incurred under the rules of the FCC. TS’s support myself and the section in two main areas of responsibility: Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) and Technical Information. They can specialize in one or more areas or be generalists with knowledge in many technical areas. Responsibilities range from serving as consultants or advisors to local hams or speaking at local club meetings on popular topics. In the Ohio Section, there are 14 qualified specialists able and willing to assist.

RFI/EMI (electromagnetic interference) includes harmful interference that seriously degrades, obstructs, or repeatedly interrupts a radio communication service such as ham radio or public service agencies. RFI sources range from bad power insulators, industrial control systems, other transmitters or poorly made transmitters, personal devices like computers, monitors, printers, game consoles, to grow lights, failing transformers, and poorly made transformers – including one’s hams brag about getting from China for a few dollars. Our Technical Specialists can offer advice to help track down interference or locating bozo stations. Technical information is wide-ranging, everything from antennas to Zumspots.

How can we help? The knowledge and abilities of YOUR Technical Specialists are really quite impressive. Here are examples:

  • Antennas (fixed, portable, and emergency operation type) and feedlines
  • Antenna systems such as towers, guying, coax, and baluns
  • RF and tower safety
  • Grounding
  • Propagation
  • Electronics and circuits
  • Tube technology, aka boat anchors
  • Voice and data modes – including D-STAR, DMR, Fusion, NXDN, P25, APRS, IGates, packet, MT63, FT8/4, Olivia, PSK, and using programs like Fldigi
  • NBEMS – Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System
  • Computers, Windows and Linux, Raspberry Pi
  • Embedded devices
  • Networking: IP networks, AMPRNet, routers, firewalls, security, mesh, and microwave
  • Repeaters, controllers, and high-profile systems
  • Internet and VoIP linking systems – Echolink, AllStar, HamVoIP, DVSwitch, and PBX/Asterisk
  • RFI detection from power lines and consumer devices including working with governmental agencies to track down interference
  • Professional certifications such as Motorola Certified Technicians, Certified Journeyman Electronics Technician, General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL), and Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) affiliations

This impressive list of qualifications is an available resource to all in the Ohio Section. Looking for guidance in one or more of these areas? Need a program for your club meeting? How about a technical talk or forum at a hamfest? Assistance or direction on a project? My contact info is near my picture and on the arrl-ohio.org website. I’ll assist getting you in touch with an appropriate Technical Specialist.

Cisco SPA-514G desk phone for Hamshack Hotline and Hams Over IP

Many in our section have a Hamshack Hotline extension. Hamshack Hotline is a Voice over IP system using the same technology, called a PBX (Private Branch Exchange), many businesses utilize for their phone systems. Recently, another similar service appeared called Hams Over IP (HoIP, IP as in IP address). It’s not as catchy or easy to rattle off as HamShack Hotline. Best I’m able to tell, the service started around the time of Dayton. Unfortunately, like many clubs that have formed and split over the years, political issues at HH mounted and led to the formation of another service. Hams Over IP formed out of some former Hamshack Hotline admins and engineers. It’s obvious from their site, this was rushed as they really only have a ticketing system and Discord linked on their site as of this writing. A Wiki can be found by searching the interwebs. BLF monitor and BLF bridge monitors are available too.

If you want to read the dirt and s-slinging, those can be found on their respective social media pages and sites. A post (group membership required) in the non-affiliated Hamshack Hotline groups.io stated “A few months ago Hamshack Hotline dismissed a number of directors of their corporation and several moderators of their facebook and discord server for reasons that remain unknown. When that happened I heard from the impacted parties as well as other supporters to create our own network, and thus Hams Over IP was born.” HoIP will continue to co-exist with HH though, they are two completely different and separate networks. Existing HH extensions and trunks will continue to work as they have in the past. Here comes the “but.” Those on the HHUX (experimental) server will be repurposed with a HoIP extension. One user posed they received an email from HH about the server change. Reading between the lines, the owner of the HHUX server was one of those dismissed. Their server was removed from the HH network, taken with them in the turmoil, and brought over to HoIP.

Regardless of the political landscape, I have a Hams Over IP phone extension: 100095. HoIP doesn’t (at least at this time) have a way to put a URL in the browser to configure a desk phone, such as a Cisco SPA, like HH does. It took a little effort to get my Cisco phone configured as there appears to be IP banning mechanisms on the server for failed registrations and those using VPNs.

Like HH, HoIP has “RF Link” extensions. These are reverse autopatch extensions connecting into an Asterisk server, most often an AllStar node connected to a repeater or Internet hub. The Hams Over IP extension into the Interlink System I maintain is: 15010. Same controls are used for RF links, *99 to TX and # to unkey/RX. A system like mine is a way to bridge not only HamShack Hotline and Hams Over IP but other networks: AllStar Link, Echolink, DMR (HBLink, BrandMeister, and TGIF), D-STAR, M-17, NXDN, P25, System Fusion, and Wires-X.

Both HamShack Hotline and Hams Over IP are now using PJSIP where one extension can ring multiple devices (up to 5, I’ve heard). Back when HH started, it was a requirement for an approved Cisco phone to be brought onto the network before one could receive credentials for the “unapproved devices” or experimental server used for soft phone apps like Groundwire or other VoIP hardware devices. Each device would have a different extension. Calling one extension would only ring that device, not any others. Both my HamShack Hotline (4293) and Hams Over IP extensions will now ring my Cisco SPA-514 in the shack and Groundwire on my smartphone. I’m unsure about consolidating extensions, might want to open a ticket with HH to find out if that’s possible.

DroidStar on P25

DroidStar for iOS is fini – done, no more. Development will continue on the Android and Windows versions. DroidStar is a smartphone app allowing hams to connect to ham radio digital and VoIP networks using only an app. Late last year, changes to the app removed the built-in vocoder (voice encoder). iOS, or iPhone Operating System, is a tightly controlled ecosystem of Apple mobile devices (phones, tablets, smartwatches, TV, etc.). Anyone doing development or app validation knows you cannot load an app on an Apple device out-of-nowhere. It must be loaded through the Apple App Store. A testing and feedback program called Test Flight is available to developers who pay for an Apple Developer account, $99 currently.

Most iOS users never use Test Flight as it is a beta program. The program allows users to test apps and provide feedback to the developer before an app is qualified and published in the App Store. Apple doesn’t want developers to forever use Test Flight circumventing the scrutiny and validation of the App Store. Test Flight apps have a limited lifetime of 90 days. The app can be made available again, though users have to rejoin the new beta version in order to have access to the app for another 90 days. This is the mechanism DroidStar was using making a version of the app available to iPhone users – and not through the App store.

Development of the app has come to an end, at least for now. Posted on the project’s Github page by the developer, the older MacBook Pro used for development is no longer eligible for the latest macOS version. Apple requires an iOS Software Development Kit (SDK) version only supposed by later versions of macOS. There are no planned upgrades to support this development effort. There is a chance someone else could maintain an iOS version as the project can be forked for continued development.

With July around the corner, my favorite event, 13 Colonies Special Event will be on the air July 1st (9 am) – July 7th (midnight). TM13COL will be making a return again this year as the third bonus stations in addition to WM3PEN and GB13COL. A station does not need to work all 13 colonies to receive a certificate. The three bonus stations do not need to be contacted for a clean sweep. Good luck!

Thanks for reading and 73… de Jeff – K8JTK

Ohio Section Journal – The Technical Coordinator – November 2021 edition

One of the responsibilities of the Technical Coordinator in the Ohio Section is to submit something for the Section Journal. The Section Journal covers Amateur Radio related things happening in and around the ARRL Ohio Section. It is published by the Section Manager Tom – WB8LCD and articles are submitted by cabinet members.

Once my article is published in the Journal, I will also make it available on my site with a link to the published edition.

You can receive the Journal and other Ohio Section news by joining the mailing list Tom has setup. You do not need to be a member of the ARRL, Ohio Section, or even a ham to join the mailing list. Please sign up!

If you are an ARRL member and reside in the Ohio Section, update your mailing preferences to receive Ohio Section news in your inbox. Those residing outside the section will need to use the mailing list link above.
Updating your ARRL profile will deliver news from the section where you reside (if the leadership chooses to use this method).
Go to www.arrl.org and logon.
Click Edit your Profile.
You will be taken to the Edit Your Profile page. On the first tab Edit Info, verify your Email address is correct.
Click the Edit Email Subscriptions tab.
Check the News and information from your Division Director and Section Manager box.
Click Save.

Now without further ado…


Read the full edition at:

THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
Jeff Kopcak – TC
k8jtk@arrl.net

DSCF5081 K8JTKHey gang,

Users of the DROID-Star application ran into a problem with an update earlier this month. After upgrading, then trying to connect to a DMR, D-STAR, NXDN, or System Fusion network, users were greeted with a “no vocoder found” message.

DROID-Star is known to users of digital modes. Namely used by Android or iOS users, it connects the user to ham radio digital networks. Later AllStar support was added through IAX, not using the AllStar Link network rather through the Inter-Asterisk eXchange protocol. AllStar is built on Asterisk and IAX requires separate accounts for access. DROID-Star supports MMDVM in hotspot or standalone transceiver configurations. MMDVM is written by G4KLX and the standard for ham radio digital linking via hotspots, interface boards, and applications.

Modes that can no longer be used out-of-the-box, after the November update, are all of the AMBE modes. AMBE is the voice encoder used in DMR, D-STAR, NXDN, and YSF. The no vocoder found message is seen when connecting to any of these modes. Unaffected modes are IAX, M17, and P25. IAX uses codes available to Asterisk. M17 uses the free and open source Codec 2. P25 (phase I, as used in ham radio) uses the IMBE codec. All three of those modes can be used without additional configuration.

First thought, there was a licensing issue or dispute. I found a forum post where the Pi-Star author recommended keeping packages separate in DROID-Star making them easier to maintain and packages can be built without including unnecessary extras. I believe this to be the reason the packaged codec in DROID-Star was removed.

No vocoder found. No hardware or software vocoder found for this mode. You can still connect, but you will not RX or TX any audio. See the project website (url on the About tab) for info on loading a sw vocoder, or use a USB AMBE dongle (and an OTG adapter on Android Devices)

As the message indicates, the user can connect to a reflector or talkgroup, but no audio will be heard. That’s about as useless as a glass hammer. I guess you can connect to make your presence known, but transmissions and reception is done through ESP? First thing I did was to visit the project URL to obtain information about finding a vocoder as suggested.

I have no information regarding aquiring a software vocoder.
There are no software vocoder plugins available in this repository, and I have no information on obtaining one. DONT ASK!

Super helpful. It does say there is an option of using a DV3000 and OTG cable. If you haven’t seen a DV3000, it’s about the size of a USB thumb drive. Do DROID-Star users need to have a hardware dongle hanging off their phones to make digital connections? Maybe. I was planning to test this method but realized I switched to a phone with USB-C connector and the OTG cables I had for previous devices were Micro USB. Make sure to obtain the correct cable for your phone or tablet.

USB OTG stands for On-The-Go. By default, phones/tables act as a peripheral. For example, plugging into a PC allows access to the phone’s storage. In order to set the phone in host mode, allowing it to accept input from other devices, a special cable containing an extra pin is required. This cable with an extra pin informs the device to enter host mode. OTG cables are readily available from a favorite online store or local computer shop. Search for ‘Micro USB OTG cable’ or ‘USB-C OTG cable’ depending on the device’s connector type. Description should make reference to being an ‘adapter for smartphone.’

Not seeing any other solutions early on, I rolled back the application to an earlier version. This is not for the faint of heart nor for someone worried about installing unofficial versions of applications, called “sideloading.” Not responsible for any damage or legal issues. This is for informational purposes only. Updates to the operating system may keep this app from working properly in the future. Any app updates/enhancements/features/bug fixes to DROID-Star will not be available without using a later version and running a vocoder. Downgrading is not possible through the Play Store. I downloaded DroidStar 1.0 (58) from the APKPure website. Hashes and additional info available on this page. I had to remove the newer DROID-Star version (which removes settings) from my phone and install the downloaded version manually. There is a “How to install APK / XAPK file” on the download link. It will explain sideloading an app and required settings to change.

After doing more digging, I was able to find a more appropriate and supported solution. The instructions to load the plugin on the project page are wrong. Saving to the Download directory did not work. To install the vocoder on an Android device:

1. Install the latest version of DROID-Star (Play Store, 3rd party store, official APK).
2. In the browser of the mobile device, visit this website: http://pizzanbeer.net/plugins/

3. Press and hold the filename for your device (arm, arm64). If you’re not sure which one to use, in DROID-Star hit About and look for Architecture.

4. Tap Copy link from the popup

5. In DroidStar, go to Settings
6. Scroll to the bottom (now located just above the MMDVM and level settings in later versions) and paste the URL in the Vocoder URL field (tap the Vocoder URL box. When the cursor is displayed, press and hold the same field. Click Paste).
7. Tap Download vocoder

8. A message saying “Updating, Check log tab for details” is displayed. Tap OK.

9. The Log tab should display “Downloaded vocoder_plugin.android.arch.”

You’re ready to go! If this is not seen, there was an error or the download couldn’t complete. Though these instructions are for Android, they are nearly the same for iPhones and iOS devices, except choose the “darwin” platform file instead of arm/64.

These steps might have to be repeated often. The release I used as of this writing (Nov 24) DROID-Star did not retain the vocoder settings. Now, I could have corrupted a database or borked permissions during testing and re-installing previous versions on my phone. Apparently other users are experiencing the same issue. Doug – AD8DP, the author of DROID-Star, seemingly doesn’t want to be bothered with issues. His repositories state the applications are offered “as is.” There is no E-mail on his QRZ and the GitHub repository has the “Issues” tab disabled. Normally, the issues option is used to report bugs with GitHub projects for developers or other community members address.

Other links about AMBE and contributing to the projects:

W9OB meeting. Photo courtesy of Dave – KB9VZU

Although not in our section, I do know they read our OSJ, quick shout out to the Henry County Amateur Radio Club in New Castle, IN – W9OB. I gave a presentation on AllStar Link and linking with digital modes. Been awhile since I’ve done a meeting over the air. Presentation was done using their local repeater via my local AllStar node. If your club would like a presentation on digital and VoIP modes or how my DVMIS works, get in contact with me.

Time off of work or wanting a break from the madness is a great time to get on the air and work special event stations. Some nets will even get children, grandchildren, and neighborhood kiddos in touch with Santa! The Santa Net is held every evening between Thanksgiving and Christmas on 3.916 MHz at 8:15PM eastern time. If HF is not available, the DoDropIn Echolink conference is hosting the Santa Watch Net on Christmas Eve! It begins at 6:00PM eastern on the 24th and runs about 4 hours. Third party traffic is always on the nice list.

On the ARRL Special Event Station calendar, W9WWI is hosting Christmas in Bethlehem on Dec 4. KC5OUR is hosting Bethlehem on the Air, Dec 18-24. N0T, N0R, N0A, N0I, and N0N make up the Christmas Train crew to Celebrate Christmas Time and Holiday Cheer through Ham Radio, Dec 23-26.

Let us not forget, the attacks on Perl Harbor that happened Dec 7, 1941. A number of stations including W2W, W9CAP, NE1PL, N7C, N7D, and N7N will be on the air to commemorate 80 years and the men and women who served.

Thanks for reading. Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! 73… de Jeff – K8JTK